About the show itself--Buffy is the antithesis of the "pretty-blond-victim" who runs from the "psycho ax-murderer" in horror films past--the girl who always twisted her ankle and fell in her attempt to get away. How many times did we see that scene and feel just a little bit disgusted with the victim for not even trying to fight back? How many times did we see that scene and feel disgusted with the directors for typing female victims in this way over and over again? Buffy, herself, isn't the "traditional" feminist TV icon. Many of those are women who have forfeited the ultra-feminine symbols of their gender--love, compassion and vulnerability in order to maintain equal footing with men. Buffy doesn't do this. Buffy embraces those symbols in one hand and hones and wields them to fight evil in the other.
The show appears as a bubble-gum program, aimed at teens and while it's fan-base is largely younger viewers (teens-twenties), it's major themes profoundly confront the more mature ideas of good vs. evil, life and death, friendship, religion, the soul and the true meanings of power and love in such a way that is rarely addressed in current entertainment. It challenges the traditional ideas of religion as being an "institution" and asserts that it is something to be lived, that real love requires self-sacrifice, that true friendship requires far-reaching forgiveness, that true power is rooted in love and compassion and that good and evil, while in shades of gray can still be defined.